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Specialist homelessness services deliver a range of services which help people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness to achieve safe and stable housing.

From 2018, DCJ will be progressively implementing a commissioning approach to contracting homelessness services, which means:

  • shifting the focus from the services a provider offers to the outcomes they achieve for their clients by having agreed outcome measures and data to track these
  • using data to inform continuous improvement to meet client needs

This will put clients at the centre of the contracting approach.

The transition to commissioning for outcomes will be underpinned by these principles:

  • Collaborative, transparent design and implementation
  • Clarity on the role of homelessness services
  • Ongoing capability development
  • Contracts must include clearly defined, measurable and attributable outcomes
  • Performance management is outcomes-focused and data driven.

What has happened so far?

  • In May to June 2018, DCJ consulted with the sector and peaks to identify draft outcome measures and indicators for pilot testing.  These were mapped to the Human Services Outcomes Framework (HSOF).

    In September 2018 a summary of the consultation findings was released, including agreed client outcomes measures and indicators for piloting with service providers.

  • In early 2019, DCJ held consultation workshops with the homelessness service sector to clarify how data will be used for monitoring provider, program and system performance.
  • From January to July 2019, the SHS Outcomes Based Commissioning (OBC) Pilot was run across NSW with 17 service providers. Providers trialled the use of the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) and Client Outcomes Survey (COS) with all new consenting clients for the 6 month period, collecting data and valuable learnings on the use of these tools to monitor a client’s progress in 3 key outcome areas across 6 indicators:
    • Safety
      • SHS clients feel safer
      • SHS clients make progress addressing their safety needs
    • Housing
      • SHS clients make progress addressing their housing needs
      • SHS clients sustain their tenancy
    • Wellbeing
      • SHS clients have improved personal wellbeing
      • SHS clients have improved capacity to tackle future challenges

The final evaluation report of the Outcomes Based Commissioning (OBC) pilot was released in December 2019.

Sector Feedback – SHS Program Documents

  • Between October and December 2019, service providers submitted feedback on key program documents for the specialist homelessness services program, including the draft Program Guidelines, draft Program Logic and draft ASES Policy Framework.
  • A summary of the feedback can be found here.

What will happen next?

  • DCJ will consult further with specialist homelessness services in early 2020 to finalise an outcomes framework that clarifies what data will be collected and how this data will be used for monitoring provider, program and system performance. Consultations will inform finalisation of the framework to be released June 2020. Consultations are now live during March 2021. The Outcomes Framework Guide and Toolkit can be downloaded here. Download the SHS Outcomes Framework  Consultations FAQs.

Further Information

For further information please see:
Updates for the Specialist Homelessness Sector
Recommissioning of Specialist Homelessness Services fact sheet.

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Last updated: 26 Mar 2021